Agriculture Minister encourages banana farmers to ‘hold on’
Minister responsible for Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Walter has urged farmers, particularly those involved in the cultivation of bananas to utilize good agricultural practices.
The Minister was at the time addressing the commissioning of an Inland Reception and Distribution Center at Fond Cole.
“Banana cultivation is not backyard gardening. We need to see persons invest in bananas. There is a market outside there. And we need to see farmers doing bananas on a commercial basis, investing in bananas in order for us to meet our goals and our objectives,” Walter said.
The Minister spoke of the need for streamlining banana farmers in efforts to produce the necessary quota for regional and international markets.
“We also need to streamline the banana industry in Dominica. Not everybody successfully can cultivate bananas because we need to make a quota out there. Presently we are not meeting our quota. We need every banana farmer in this country should be able to meet a certain tonnage of production, and at least five tones per acre. The yield per acre in Dominica is very low,” Walter said.
Walter advised farmers to continue educating themselves to remain on par with changes in the global market. He said that the government of Dominica will continue efforts to develop the banana industry.
“We cannot do away with the bananas industry; we cannot close our eyes on the banana industry. The banana industry is very important to the livelihood of the people of this country. We need to tailor the industry, to respond to those global changes…” Walter said.
Earlier this week, the Government of Dominica and the European Commission formally commissioned three Inland Reception and Distribution Centers in the communities of Fond Cole, Portsmouth and Marigot totaling some 7 million dollars.